(3:30 p.m. EDT) -- Luxury cruise operator Crystal unveiled Monday the inaugural itineraries for its eagerly anticipated expedition newbuild, Crystal Endeavor.
Crystal Endeavor will make its debut in Iceland, where it will offer five, 10-night luxury expedition sailings that circumnavigate the country and sail roundtrip from the capital of Reykjavik.
Crystal's "Luxury Iceland Expedition" voyages will depart beginning July 17, 2021, with reservations opening April 13. Crystal notes Reykjavik offers convenient direct-air options for travelers, with the country reachable by air in just six hours from New York and three hours from London.
"As we prepare to welcome Crystal Endeavor to the Crystal fleet, we share our guests' great anticipation of this extraordinary new ship and the journeys to come," Crystal's interim President and CEO Jack Anderson said. "We know that travelers have looked forward to this thrilling new way to explore the world with Crystal and, like every Crystal ship that has come before her, Crystal Endeavor will set a new bar for luxury in her market, with onboard accommodations, amenities, spaciousness, experiences and service that are simply unmatched in the industry."
Delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor is a first for the luxury line, designed to function as a hybrid luxury cruise ship and a purpose-built rugged expedition vessel. Outfitted with Polar Class 6 hull specifications, the ship can comfortably and safely sail the world's most remote polar regions, including the Far Arctic and Antarctica.
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Anderson also thanked Icelandic authorities for granting permission for Crystal Endeavor to sail from Reykjavik this summer under the line's extensive health and safety protocols.
"We are grateful to (the) Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation of Iceland, and her team for their partnership and collaboration as we begin this new chapter of luxury expedition cruising," Anderson said. "The spectacular destinations of Iceland are the ideal beginning for Crystal Endeavor's adventures, as they embody and inspire a spirit of deep exploration, bold nature and sense of curiosity."
Crystal notes that Crystal Endeavor's first sailings will initially be operated at reduced capacity. In keeping with Crystal's policies, all passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before embarkation.
In addition, all passengers onboard Crystal Endeavor will need to adhere to the company's Crystal Clean+ health and safety measures, including negative COVID-19 tests for passengers and crew; reduced onboard capacity; social distancing measures; masking policies; and health screening questionnaires.
The ship could end up being a perfect fit for COVID-times, thanks to its generous amount of onboard space per passenger. Crystal notes that even the lifeboats aboard Crystal Endeavor are designed to accommodate 600 passengers and crew -- room for approximately 50 percent more people than the vessel can actually carry.